A Fix For Windows 10 Search Not Working

Windows 10 files missing? Can't get Windows 10 search to work properly? We have the easy fix right here.

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• Technology: App / Software • Technology: Computer
• Technology: DIY • Technology: How-To
• Technology: Tips & Tricks • Games & Software: Windows PC

Matt Anderson's Take
Is Windows 10 file search not working? No matter what you type in nothing comes up in the search results list or maybe you can't find a file you know is there. Is this sounds like your problem then follow along these four simple steps that may help fix your problem.

Step 1


The first step is to make sure you have the Windows Search service running. This is an app (technically a service) that runs in the background and makes searching in Windows 10 work. It should be running by default but sometimes it gets turned off. Hit Windows + R (or open Cortana) and type in "services.msc" (without the quotes). A window like the image above will appear.

Find the service named Windows Search and make sure it is listed as running. If not, double click it and choose Automatic as the Startup Type. If it's on Automatic (Delayed) that's okay too.

Step 2


Open File Explorer. If you don't know what this is it's simply an app installed with Windows 10. You can find it in your start menu or click Cortana and type in File Explorer to find it.

Navigate to the folder where you keep your documents. For example, this might be a Dropbox folder, Google Drive folder, or the Windows Documents folder. Right click on that folder and select Properties. On the window that opens click on the Security tab.

Step 3


In the main box is a list of "group or user names" that have access to the folder you selected. You're probably missing the SYSTEM account name here. Click the EDIT button and in the large box type in the word SYSTEM and click the CHECK NAME button.

Then click OK to save your changes and then wait (if needed) while Windows processes your request. When you can, keep clicking OK until all of the windows that you opened are closed. You may be prompted with another OK/CANCEL or YES/NO dialog box which is fine, in that case click the OK/YES button as needed.

Step 4


Finally, we need to rebuild the search index so Windows 10 can discover all of your files and make them searchable. To do this, click on Cortana and type in Indexing Options and hit Enter (or click Indexing Options in the list that comes up). Click the button that reads REBUILD and then OK/YES as needed.

Windows 10 will now go through all of the files that are searchable, which will be those in folders that you added the SYSTEM account to. This can take anywhere from minutes to hours depending on your computer speed and number of files. While the index is rebuilding your PC may be slow which is normal. It will speed right back up when the index is ready. Come back in a bit and try searching for files, chances are good it will work now!
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